Lawmakers, including many close allies of the oil and gas industry, are simmering — boiling over, even — about the prospect of losing their beloved gas stoves.
“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove,” Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) tweeted Tuesday. “If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands.”
“COME AND TAKE IT!!” Jackson added — a phrase that has since been plastered across pro-gas stove memes.
The growing outrage stems from comments that Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, made earlier this week. In an interview with Bloomberg, he floated regulating or banning new gas stoves amid mounting research that the appliances emit harmful pollutants indoors, posing risks to human health.
“Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” he told the publication, echoing concerns he voiced last month.
Gas stoves have been shown to emit potentially unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants, even when they are not in operation. A peer-reviewed study earlier this month found that the appliances are responsible for approximately 12.7% of all childhood asthma cases nationwide. Some 40 million homes — over one-third of all U.S. households — have a gas stove.
Trumka and the chair of the commission have both since clarified that the agency has not proposed any ban or new regulation for gas stoves.
“To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves,” Trumka posted to Twitter, adding that any future regulation would apply only to new products.
In other words, if you like your polluting gas stove, you can keep it.
CPSC Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric swung back at media reporting that suggested a federal ban was on the horizon.
“Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”
Instead, the agency is “researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address health risks,” which will include fielding public input in the spring on possible solutions to curb associated hazards, Hoehn-Saric said.
None of it has tempered GOP backlash.
“[Joe Biden] get your hands off our gas stoves!!!!” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) wrote on Twitter.
In swooping to the defense of gas stoves, some lawmakers revealed their own bizarre, unhealthy relationship with the kitchen appliance — a love that the gas industry spent decades and millions of dollars working to foster, as reporter Rebecca Leber detailed in a 2021 exposé for Mother Jones.
“I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wrote on Twitter.
The hoopla over gas stoves is reminiscent of when Republicans manufactured public outrage in 2021 with sweeping claims that the Biden administration’s climate agenda would include banning burgers and other red meat.
That’s not to say there isn’t a growing effort to keep gas stoves and heating systems out of new buildings. Just this week, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) proposed a first-of-its-kind ban on gas heating and appliances in all new construction statewide. She said the proposal would help tackle climate change and “chart a path to a cleaner, healthier New York for future generations.”
In a letter last month, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and other lawmakers called on Hoehn-Saric, the CPSC chair, to take action to address the risks associated with indoor gas stoves.
“In addition to the climate impacts, these emissions represent real health risks to millions of Americans,” they wrote.
Among other things, the lawmakers recommended the agency consider warning labels, requiring stoves to be sold with range hoods, and mandatory performance standards to address hazardous pollutants and leakage.
“There’s been a lot of gaslighting today about gas stoves,” Beyer wrote in a Twitter post Tuesday. “To be clear, I didn’t call for a ban on gas stoves. [Sen. Booker] and I wrote to [the CPSC] asking them to consider ways to reduce potential health risks, which include childhood asthma.”